Carmel Beckons: The Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest

Relais & Chateaux GourmetFest LogoWhen was the last time you were in the quaint coastal village of Carmel?   Given its charm, you probably don’t need another reason to travel (or return) here but Lufthansa First Class has decided to give you one anyway with GourmetFest 2014, an international food and wine festival featuring the talents of Relais & Châteaux Chefs from around the world.  It’s just a few weeks away, but luckily there are still tickets available.

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest takes place March 27-30, 2014 and festival activities center around L’Auberge Carmel, La Playa Carmel, and the Sunset Center in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.  Attendees can choose between cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, off-site tour and lunch excursions, a wild mushroom hunt, a caviar seminar, and world-class dinners.  Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Relais & Châteaux, GourmetFest also offers an Opening Night Party, a Bordeaux-centric Dinner and a Seafood Grill with Champagne Tasting.

Justin Cogley

Justin Cogley, Grand Chef at L’Auberge Carmel

This inaugural event will feature 50 Chefs and Winemakers from around the world including Kale Anderson (Pahlmeyer), William Bradley (Addison), Véronique Drouhin (Maison Joseph Drouhin), Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood), Jean Michel Lorain (La Côte Saint Jacques), Patrick O’Connell (The Inn at Little Washington), Rajat Parr (Sandhi), Gary Pisoni (Pisoni Vineyards), Joachim Splichal (Patina), and Michael Tusk (Quince).

Keep reading for more information on festival activities, ticket prices, and auction items up for bid as a fundraiser for valuable non-profit organizations.

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest: The Events

Here are a few of the major events at GourmetFest 2014:

Welcome Party on Thursday, March 27, from  6-9 pm – Enjoy an exciting evening with Relais & Châteaux Grand Chefs from around the world where each Chef is paired with a local organic farmer and prestigious wine estates from Europe and America.  Featured Chefs include William Bradley (Addison), Justin Cogley (Aubergine), Jason Franey (Canlis), Patrick O’Connell (The Inn at Little Washington), Derek Poirier (Valrhona), Joachim Splichal (Patina) and Gaetano Trovato (Arnolfo).

The Cheese Shop

Cheese Display from The Cheese Shop

Featured Wineries include Chappellet, Château Cheval Blanc, Crocker & Starr, Domaine de la Côte, Galante Vineyards, Harlan Estate, Hyde de Villaine (HdV) Wines, Kongsgaard, Maison Joseph DrouhinMorgan Winery, Pahlmeyer, Pisoni Vineyards, Quintessa, Talbott Vineyards and Veuve Clicquot.  You will also find Carmel’s The Cheese Shop at the Welcome Dinner as well as representatives from Glenmorangie, Grand Marnier, and Hennessy.

Tickets are $225 per person and may be purchased here or as part of a package (please see below).  

Grand Cru Bordeaux Dinner on Friday, March 28, at 6:30 pm  – Take an incredible journey through a selection of Grand Crus of Bordeaux including 2004 Château Cheval Blanc for the Main Course.  Other Grand Cru producers being featured are Château Canon la Gaffelière, Château Braniare-Ducru, Château Guiraud and Domaine de Chevalier.  The delectable menu will be prepared by Grand Chefs Barbara Lynch (Menton), Gaetano Travato (Arnolfo) and Jason Franey (Canlis), with dessert from Executive Pastry Chef Ron Mendoza (Aubergine).

Tickets are $295 per person and may be purchased here or as part of a package (please see below).

Dom Perignon LabelGrand Chef Dinner on Saturday, March 29, at 6:30 pm – Savor the final dinner of the First Annual Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest with a glass of Dom Pérignon and enjoy dishes from Relais & Châteaux Grand Chefs including Justin Cogley (Aubergine), Jean Michel Lorain (La Côte Saint Jacques), Barbara Lynch (Menton),  Patrick O’Connell (The Inn at Little Washington) and Michael Tusk (Quince).  The meal will feature wines from Ceretto, Chappellet, Weingut Dönnhoff and Weingut Künstler.

Tickets are $350 per person and may be purchased here or as part of a package (please see below).


Michael Tusk

Michael Tusk, Grand Chef at Quince

Seafood Grill on Sunday, March 30,  from 12 – 3 pm – At GourmetFest’s final event, sip Champagnes and Premium Wines at a Grill featuring the finest fishmongers in America with Chefs such as Jason Bangerter (Langdon Hall), Robert Curry (Auberge du Soleil), Jacob Leatherman (Triple Creek Ranch) and Jonathon Perkins (Château du Sureau).  Wineries participating include Beauregard Vineyards, Bernardus Winery, Chappellet, Cloudy Bay, Galante Vineyards, I. Brand & Family Wines, Manzoni Vineyards, Moët & Chandon, Morgan Winery, Ruinart, Veuve Clicquot, and Windy Oaks Estate.Tickets are $175 per person and may be purchased here or as part of a package (please see below).

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest: Tickets

At GourmetFest you can buy individual event tickets or ticket packages which will provide entrance into 5-8 activities over the weekend such as:

The Grand Chef Ticket Package ($1435.50 per person):  Welcome Party, Cooking Demo with Michael White, Taste of Italy, Grand Cru Bordeaux Dinner, California Meets Germany, Grand Chef Dinner and the Seafood Grill

Wine Lover’s Package/Gold ($2,898 per person):  Welcome Party, The Exploration of Marquis de Laguiche Montrachet, Taste of Italy, Grand Cru Bordeaux Dinner, The Revelation of Château Cheval Blanc, Grand Chef Dinner, Journey in the Krug Universe and the Seafood Grill

Talbott Vineyards

Tasting Room at Talbott Vineyards

Wine Lover’s Package/Silver ($1,476 per person):  Welcome Party, Talbott Tour & Lunch, Grand Cru Bordeaux Dinner, Wild Mushroom Hunt & Lunch, The Revelation of Château Cheval Blanc and the Seafood Grill

GourmetFest Lunches & Dinners Package ($1,291.50 per person):  Welcome Party, Taste of Italy, Grand Cru Bordeaux Dinner, California Meets Germany, Grand Chef Dinner and the Seafood Grill

A Taste of GourmetFest Package ($711 per person):  Welcome Party, Taste of Italy, California Meets Germany and the Seafood Grill

For more details on all of the event activities and to buy tickets, please go here.

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest:  The Silent Auction

Proceeds from GourmetFest 2014 will support worthwhile non-profit organizations.  Items up for bid at the online auction include:

Some of the other 40+ auction items up for bid are excursion packages for the Country Music Awards, the People’s Choice Awards and the INDY 500.   Please go here for a complete list of auction items, their estimated values, and the current leading bid amounts.


Relais & Chateaux LogoEstablished 60 years ago when top hoteliers teamed up with talented chefs, Relais & Châteaux is an association of over 500 outstanding hotels and their independent owners in 60 countries setting a unique standard for excellence in hospitality.  The Relais & Châteaux Grand Chefs consist of almost 160 men and women over five continents who strive towards excellence, share the same passion for fine ingredients and a respect for their terroir and culinary inheritance.

Rancho Cielo logoEvery bid and all of the proceeds from the Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest 2014 online auction will support these valuable non-profit organizations:  The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (an organization dedicated to support the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improve the quality of life for those with the disease, and to ultimately find a cure); Rancho Cielo (a comprehensive learning and social services center for underserved youth in Monterey County); and the Carmel Chamber of Commerce (which promotes business, marketing and networking opportunities to benefit its members professionally and economically).

We encourage you to grab your credit card and start making travel plans, indulge yourself in the enticing options at GourmetFest and enjoy the beautiful properties of Relais & Châteaux.  If you would like suggestions on where else to go in the area, then please read our list of Recommendations for the Monterey Peninsula.


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